20 Embarrassing Movie Roles Actors Just Can’t Escape
When it comes to Hollywood movies, there are a number of famous disasters alongside the classics. Some are so unbelievably bad, in fact, that you wonder who in their right mind would sign on to star in them in the first place.
Take the below actors, none of whom have kept quiet when it comes to talking about the famous movie roles they regret taking.
20. Megan Fox – Transformers
Once upon a time, Megan Fox was one of the best-known names in Hollywood. However, she’s had fewer and fewer film outings in recent years, which you can trace back to her appearance in just one franchise.
Though Fox was one of the most memorable parts of the first two Transformers films, the actress felt that the role of Mikaela Banes was completely unchallenging, and that she was encouraged to act as pure eye-candy rather than a character in her own right.
Fox also butted heads with director Michael Bay on numerous occasions, famously saying in an interview that he “wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and so he is.”
After numerous arguments about everything from her pay grade to her wardrobe to her treatment on-set, Fox eventually left the series, with many speculating that she had been blackballed throughout the industry by Bay.
The arc of Fox’s character was finished up in the third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, by an entirely new character played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, with the casting of the Victoria’s Secret model confirming Fox’s fears that her character was always all about the looks.
However, despite her feuds with Michael Bay, she has since worked with the director on the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.
19. Sean Connery – The Bond films
Sean Connery was the original James Bond, being the first actor cast in the role, in 1962’s Dr No, and starring in six more movies about the superspy.
It’s hard to imagine hating the legacy that comes with being the first person to play the character, but Connery has never hidden that his time playing 007 was not a happy one.
Connery’s main issue was pragmatic – he didn’t think he was being paid enough to play Bond, and the constant grind of playing the character over and over got him down.
At one point, Connery even got so bored of the movies that he started giving his salary to charity, just to show the studio and directors that he wasn’t at all invested in the work he was doing.
After finally getting free of the shackles of 007, Connery said in an interview “I have always hated that damn James Bond. I’d like to kill him”, which isn’t exactly subtle.
18. Shia LaBeouf – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Shia LaBeouf has had a number of highs and lows in his career, resulting in a pretty turbulent relationship with both the media and any prominent directors he might have wanted to work with.
However, back in 2008 LaBeouf was relatively fresh-faced and controversy-free, making his decision to appear alongside Harrison Ford in an Indiana Jones flick seem like a no-brainer.
Of course, from the moment the movie flopped, LaBeouf wasn’t afraid to be open about why he thought the movie wasn’t a success.
The actor called his decision to be a part of Crystal Skull a situation where he seriously “dropped the ball”, and didn’t pretend for a minute that the negative opinions of numerous critics and long-time fans were wrong.
Most of all, though, LaBeouf blamed director Steven Spielberg for the movie’s failure, saying: “You get there, and you realize you’re not meeting the Spielberg you dream of. You’re meeting a different Spielberg, who is in a different stage in his career. He’s less a director than he is a f*****g company.” Yikes.
17. Jack Black – Shallow Hal
The movies that some actors regret appearing in seem completely inexplicable, and it’s difficult to understand what problem they could possibly have with a finished product that so many people loved.
With that said, when Jack Black in 2006 began publicly exclaiming that appearing in Shallow Hal wasn’t exactly the high point of his career, there weren’t all that many people who disagreed or didn’t understand.
Black said that making the controversial film, in which he plays a superficial man who falls in love with a bigger woman that he sees as super skinny, felt like selling out as an artist.
According to Contactmusic, Black said that although he loved the directors and thought they were hilarious, he wasn’t happy with the final product and didn’t intend to make something so mainstream.
Said Black: “I had an opportunity to work with some dudes I thought were really funny, but it didn’t turn out as I’d hoped, I wasn’t proud of it, and I got paid a lot of money, so in retrospect it feels like a sell-out.”
16. Marlon Brando – A Streetcar Named Desire
Romantic comedies with simplistic characters, action movies with bad dialogue, or tacky horror flicks with seriously gratuitous violence – it’s easy to understand why an actor would come to regret being involved with any of these kinds of movies.
What’s less easy to fathom, however, is what would bring an actor to hate a movie that was critically acclaimed and beloved by audiences, especially when it basically singlehandedly made his career.
As an unlikely as it might seem, Marlon Brando came to resent ever agreeing to star in 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire, mostly because he despised being regarded as a sex symbol, or any kind of handsome leading man.
Brando also disliked that the press would continually compare him to the character he played in real-life, when he had deliberately acted mean, entitled and stupid in the film.
Writing years later in his autobiography, Brando said he based his performance in his breakout movie off of “inarticulate, aggressive animals who go through life responding to nothing but their urges and never doubting them.”
15. Kate Winslet – Titanic
Kate Winslet in Titanic is another classic performance that it’s hard to imagine anyone disliking, but it’s a performance that the actor herself can’t bear to watch.
Though she loved the movie and was honoured to be asked to be a part of it, Winslet has since said she finds her own performance to be so amateurish and terrible that it ruins the whole film.
Winslet has since said in interviews that she can never watch the movie again, and regrets every single choice she made in every single scene.
In an interview with CNN, she event went so far as to say “Every single scene, I’m like, ‘Really, really? You did it like that? Oh my God.’ My American accent, I can’t listen to it. It’s awful”.
Thankfully no-one else feels the same way about Winslet’s performance, which must be some comfort every time she has to change the channel every year around Christmas.
14. Bill Murray – The Garfield Movie
Bill Murray’s decision to appear in a movie adaptation of a classic cartoon, as the lasagne-loving cat himself no less, might seem like the comedian’s innocent attempt to make a movie that kids might like.
Instead, Garfield: The Movie is a warning to all other actors that you should read the emails you get from your agent really carefully.
Essentially, Murray got the script for the Garfield film and agreed to do it immediately, thanks to the name attached to the project.
It later transpired that the director of the movie was Joel Cohen, writer of Cheaper by the Dozen and Daddy Day Camp, and not Joel Coen, one half of the celebrated Coen brothers, who Murray assumed was at the Garfield helm.
Murray thought the whole thing was pretty funny though, saying: “I had a hilarious experience with Garfield. I only read a few pages of it, and I kind of wanted to do a cartoon movie, because I had looked at the screenplay and it said “Joel Cohen” on it. I wasn’t thinking clearly, but it was spelled Cohen, not Coen.”
13. Jim Carrey – Kick-Ass 2
It’s fairly common for an actor to object to a movie they appeared in thanks to the terrible quality of the film, the difficulty of working with the other actors, or just the unpleasant nature of being on-set.
With that said, it’s less common for an actor to have a complete change of heart in relation to a movie they loved working on, especially when it happens because of their values.
Nevertheless, that’s what happened with Kick-Ass 2, in which Jim Carrey plays The Colonel. The hyper-violent character was allegedly fun to play, but after its release, Carrey said he could no longer endorse the movie.
The actor’s change of heart came after there was yet another tragic school shooting in the US, which Carrey said changed his perspective on all violence, including the fictional kind.
Carrey tweeted a statement summarising his feelings, saying: “I did Kick-Ass 2 a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence. My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”
12. Michael Caine – Jaws: The Revenge
It’s fairly common for an actor to read a script they like, have an awesome time on set, and then sit down to watch the final product at a movie premiere and realise the film hasn’t turned out the way they expected.
What’s less common is for an actor to know the film is going to be terrible basically from the moment they first walked on set.
That’s what happened to Michael Caine, who agreed to appear in the fourth instalment of the Jaws franchise as pilot Hoagie Newcombe.
Caine sacrificed a lot for the project, even missing the collection of his Academy Award at the 1987 Oscars so he could continue shooting, but refused to watch the movie when it came out.
In his autobiography, Caine went so far as to say, “I have never seen it, but by all accounts, it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific”, which is a pretty optimistic take on a truly bad film.
11. Charles Dance – Godzilla: King of the Monsters
2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the second instalment in the new Hollywood take on the iconic Japanese monster franchise, didn’t quite set the world on fire.
The film also completely failed to ignite any real passion in one of its most esteemed cast members, Charles Dance.
The seasoned British actor barely feigned interest even when promoting the film, admitting to The Guardian, “I had difficulty staying awake.”
Rather than heaping the expected praise on the script, the director and his co-stars, Dance flatly stated, “it’s what I was offered… I just like working.”
The highest praise Dance could muster for Godzilla: King of the Monsters was, “the catering was sensational!”
10. Ryan Reynolds – Green Lantern
Few actors have had quite so spectacular a fall from grace – or worn it as such a badge of honour afterwards – as Ryan Reynolds through the development of Green Lantern.
Hopes were high in 2011 that the $200 million-budgeted DC Comics adaptation would be a huge hit, pushing the DC franchise and Reynolds himself into the stratosphere.
Instead, Green Lantern crashed and burned horribly, with almost universally negative reviews and huge financial losses at the box office.
Reynolds has since claimed to have never seen the film in its entirety, but has never made any secret of his disdain for the whole experience.
In the years since, Reynolds has made Green Lantern the butt of a great many jokes in his far more successful Deadpool movies; one line in the first Deadpool film finds the titular hero asking that his super-suit not be made “green – or animated”.
9. George Clooney – Batman & Robin
George Clooney once claimed to have “so terribly destroyed the part” of Batman that he can’t bring himself to watch 1997’s Batman & Robin.
But whilst we agree with George that his performance in the film was far from great, we don’t think that he should take the entire blame for what is an absolute stinker.
In the mid-90s, Clooney was at the height of his small screen fame on TV’s ER and just breaking through as a movie star.
Reportedly Batman & Robin director Joel Schumacher chose Clooney as the new Batman (replacing Val Kilmer, who declined to return after Batman Forever) by drawing the bat-mask over a picture of the actor.
For a short time it looked like Clooney had killed his own movie career (as well as the Batman franchise), but his role in 1998’s Out of Sight soon got him back on track.
8. Alec Guinness – Star Wars
For generations of viewers, Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan Kenobi was the embodiment of wisdom and compassion, whose untimely death left us in tears.
However, though Star Wars may have gone down in history as one of the most popular and successful films (and film franchises) of all time, Guinness himself wasn’t quite so keen.
The seasoned British actor had little patience with young upstart director George Lucas or his script, which Guinness thought was terrible.
Guinness later described Star Wars as “fairy-tale rubbish”, and once, when meeting a boy who told him he’d seen the film 100 times, Guinness told him to “please never watch it again!”
The actor’s disdain for the film was so well-known, it resulted in rumours that Guinness himself suggested Obi-Wan Kenobi die midway through the film, but this claim has long since been debunked.
7. Robert Pattinson – The Twilight Saga
Despite it making him a household name, Robert Pattinson has never been positive about his role in the Twilight Saga.
The British actor was 22 when he landed the role of the sparkly vampire Edward Cullen in the big-screen adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s YA fiction series.
Twilight immediately made Pattinson a pin-up and the subject of widespread tabloid scrutiny, but also brought more than its share of ridicule.
Even while the Twilight hype machine was in full swing, Pattinson barely hid his disdain for it all, once saying of Edward: “he’s a 108-year-old virgin, so he’s obviously got some issues there.” Pattinson also suggested that Edward would, in reality, be an axe murderer.
Once the five-film saga was completed, Pattinson steered clear of mainstream movies, until his recent casting as the new Batman – but even years later, residual fan hate for Twilight persists.
6. Michelle Pfeiffer – Grease 2
Whilst we’re sure you’ll all agree that the original Grease is an absolute classic, those of you unlucky enough to have watched the awful sequel will understand why it’s a role that Michelle Pfeiffer regrets taking.
Apparently Pfeiffer doesn’t even like being reminded of Grease 2, and once referred to it a bad dream that she wants to be erased from her memory.
The actress said in a 1988 interview that her casting was a “fluke,” and she doesn’t consider herself an accomplished singer or dancer.
Of Grease 2 itself, Pfeiffer once remarked that she “hated that film with a vengeance and couldn’t believe how bad it was.”
Fortunately for her, following the Grease sequel Pfeiffer landed a role in Scarface, which proved she was a serious actress who was there to stay in Hollywood.
5. Will Smith – After Earth
Will Smith is no stranger to absolute stinkers, having starred in the abomination that is 1999’s Wild Wild West, but there is one film that he looks back on with even more regret and calls “the most painful failure” of his career.
That film would be M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, the 2013 science fiction adventure starring the Oscar-nominated actor alongside son Jaden.
The key reason that Smith regrets starring in After Earth more than any other film is because he was instrumental in casting his son starring alongside him.
Smith says that in the wake of After Earth’s box office failure, “a thing got broken in my mind.”
This convinced the actor to “start moving out of (blockbusters) and finding more danger in my artistic choices.” Jaden Smith has also largely steered clear of major film roles since the movie.
4. Halle Berry – Catwoman
Oscar-winner Halle Berry signed on to star in Catwoman because it was originally going to be directed by Tim Burton as a Batman Returns spin-off.
Unfortunately, Burton dropped out, and the finished movie ended up being an absolute stinker.
On release in 2004, Catwoman was met with savage reviews, and made only $80 million worldwide off a $100 million budget.
The film saw Berry named Worst Actress at the 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards – almost exactly three years after she won the Best Actress Oscar for Monster’s Ball.
When accepting her Razzie award for Worst Actress (making her one of the few Hollywood stars to do so in person), Berry said to studio Warner Bros, “Thank you for putting me in a piece of s**t god awful movie, it was just what my career needed.”
3. Mark Wahlberg – The Happening
The second M. Night Shyamalan film on our list, if you’ve ever seen The Happening, you’ll have been left as completely baffled as us.
Mark Wahlberg feels no different, and has said he regrets starring in the film, once saying “f*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it.”
In case you’re unfamiliar with The Happening (trust us, you haven’t missed out), Wahlberg is alluding to the fact that the film sees nature taking revenge on humanity via airborne toxins which compel those who inhale them to commit suicide.
The Happening was widely ridiculed by audiences and critics alike, and a great portion of that scorn was directed at Wahlberg, who many felt made for an unconvincing high school science teacher.
Wahlberg later remarked that Amy Adams, who had initially been set to play his wife, had “dodged a bullet” by not taking the part (which went instead to Zooey Deschanel).
2. Katherine Heigl – Knocked Up
Despite Knocked Up being a rather well-liked comedy film, one of its stars, Katherine Heigl, has made a number of negative comments about it.
The film gave Heigl one of the biggest hits of her career and some of her best reviews, but she notoriously blasted it as “a little sexist.”
The actress told Vanity Fair: “[Knocked Up] paints the women as shrews, as humourless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys… it was hard for me to love the movie.”
Heigl has since backed down on her criticism slightly but still says that she would have liked to have had more say in the direction of her character.
Heigl’s Knocked Up co-star Seth Rogen and director Judd Apatow have both spoken of feeling “hurt” and “betrayed” by the actress’ comments, and have never worked with her again.
1. Jamie Dornan AND Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades of Grey
Occasionally, more than one actor will admit to regretting agreeing to star in a single film, which is exactly how things went down with the abysmal Fifty Shades of Grey.
Jamie Dornan – a late-in-the-day replacement for first choice Christian Grey actor Charlie Hunnam, who got cold feet soon after being cast – has not been shy in admitting his disdain for the character, the franchise, and its fanbase.
The actor once sardonically remarked that “I fear I’ll get murdered, like John Lennon, by one of those mad fans at the premiere.”
As for Dornan’s co-star Dakota Johnson, she too has long admitted having regrets about accepting the role of Anastasia Steele, admitting (whilst promoting the films) “Even now there are moments when I think, ‘What the f*** have I done?'”
And it’s not just those in front of the camera who feel that way: the first film’s director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, also says that she regrets ever agreeing to direct it, and that she’ll never watch her film’s two sequels.